The Crack House I Called Home

Back in 1987 the Good X and I bought a fixer upper. It was a 40s tract house in the bad part of San Diego. It was a nice house, but its most recent occupants had been drug dealers and guys who tore apart cars. There was a VW bug hanging in the palm tree in the front yard, deadbolt locks on every door inside and out, engineless trucks in the back yard, another VW, shrines and needles in the corner of one of the bedrooms, piss in the toilet and a lot of other ragged and disturbing things. Mostly it needed cleaning to be livable, but it also needed an exorcism. That took a while. I lived there 17 happy though challenging, years.

I no longer have “before” pictures. I left them for the people I sold it to who were my neighbor’s daughter and husband.

The featured photo is a few years after I moved away. It was used to list the house after the people I sold it to moved out. When I lived there, there was a bird of paradise under the window, roses and hibiscus…

The photos below were taken the morning a tree company removed my palm tree. I sold it so I could make my house payment one winter. It ended up on College Avenue, just by the ramp coming in from I-8. It did well there. I saw it every day I went to school. ❀

19 thoughts on “The Crack House I Called Home

    • A tree company left a card in my door telling me they wanted it. At first I thought, “No. I love my tree.” Then I thought, “How will I make my house payment?” I called and asked them how much they would give me for it and it was almost my house payment to the last cent. I took it as manna from Heaven or something like that. In those days I wasn’t paid over Christmas break which was a month.

      • Haha, that is ever stranger – someone’s job description involved cold-calling on trees! πŸ˜‰ It certainly was a handsome tree though, so, can see why someone would want it and the fact that it’s value so neatly matched your mortgage was likely a sign πŸ˜‰

  1. That is a magnificent tree, Martha. The VW hanging from it would have been a nice touch. I hope the tree is still standing in its new home. Your old house looks fairly utilitarian without its bird of paradise and roses.

  2. Seems that luck was in play… Too bad you had to sell it but nice that you didn’t have to miss a house payment! I can’t imagine the condition of the house when you moved in. It sounds like a lot of work just to be able to move in! How long did it take before the former inhabitants’ customers stopped coming by?

    • The former customers were pretty nice, if a little scary. They only came by a couple times. Some other (also nice) guys came by and hauled off a couple trucks. It was sketchy, to say the least. But everything in the house worked and I did a lot of cleaning. That was the scariest thing because of AIDS. The danger of hitting a used needle was real. My poor neighbors were so happy to have new neighbors.

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